Jul 18

Good coffee and great opportunity

Try the coffee: Brodie Cook, Libby Rippon, a disability support worker, and Matt Daniels are all working at The Little Acorn cafe in Terang. Picture: Amy PatonA unique new cafe in Terang, The Little Acorn, is touting its coffee as the best in town.
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But thecoffee isn’t the only special thing about the cafe –it’s also run by a local disability services provider, Cooinda Terang, and providespeople with the opportunity to develophands-on skills.

Brodie Cook, 20, has been attending Cooinda for about a yearand he was picked as one of 10 participantsto help run the cafe each week.

Mr Cook, who has worked about five shifts since the cafe opened on December 12,said at first he wasn’t sure about the idea.

“At the start I said ‘no’,but then I changed my mind,” he said.

“Then Ithought, ‘actually, give it a go’.”

Mr Cook does dishes and other jobs at the back of the cafe, and serves food to people.

“I love coming here,” he said. “I meet new people everyday. The community is so friendly and everything.”

The cafe came to fruition after council approved plans to develop a former maternal child health centre on High Street.

Cooinda Terang general manager Phil Hose said leadership at the organisation saw the vacant building as “an opportunity to do something different, a bit special.”

Mr Hose said the project was made possible by Corangamite Shire, and by also generous contributions from the WDEA trust and anop shop.

The cafe serves healthy food, and also features a shop with locally-produced goods.

Mr Hose said the cafe would provide positive opportunities for participants in Cooindaprograms.

“There are a lot of younger people attending Cooinda, a lot of people who aren’t people I would like to see staying in a disability system for their lives,” he said.

“I think they’ve got a great opportunity and great potential to be part of the work force, particularly with the NDIS coming next year.

“One of the key drivers of that is vocation and employment, and this will be one of the ways we can support that process as well.”

Mr Hose said the public had been very supportive of the cafe in its first few weeks in operation.

“It’s been going well,” he said. “There’s been lots of good comments on thefood and the coffee.”

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Jul 18

Cycle of success

FOCUSED: Lucas Hamilton of KordaMentha competes in the Prologue stage on the first day of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour 2016. Picture: Chris Putnam / Barcroft MediaArarat cyclist Lucas Hamilton will focus on the criterium, abandoning the time trial, in a bid to strengthen his quest for a national under-23 road race jersey in Ballarat this week.
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Hamilton is determined to improve on his runner-up finish in last year’s Cycling Australia Road National Championships.

Hamilton said the decision to race the criterium on Wednesday night was to aid hispreparationfor the road race.

“It is the first time I will have raced the criterium,” he said

“Not having any race days this year leading into the nationals, it should help prepare me better for the road race while giving me the chance to try something different riding along Ballarat’s Sturt Street.

“The criterium does not particularly suit me, it’s more about preparation for the road race.”

Hamilton finished second in the road race at last year’s event and is hoping the change in preparation will be what is needed to finish one better in 2017.

“Teams doworktogether but there are less teams in the under-23 race,” he said.

“So, it is still unpredictable during the race.”

The road race course is 10.2 kilometres with cyclists doing 10 laps, a total of132.6 kilometres.

Hamilton said the course is the same circuit as 2016.

“It is a course that suits me, the top of the climb is still sixor seven kilometres to the finish,” he said.

“Most guys would have raced on it a few times, Itrained around it a fair few times as a junior while boarding in Ballarat.

“You want the tailwind on the climb, last year was perfect.”

Hamilton had a successful stint in Europe in 2016 and is already eyeing off some of Australia’s most prestigious races before hopefully returning to Europe for its summer cycling season.

“The whole summer training had been focused on theHerald Sun Tour, the Tour Down Underand the CadelEvans Great Ocean Road Race,” he said.

“You do change your training around to cater for what races you are doing, so that has been a focus.

“You tend to do more days together in training, because you back up day after day in those events.”

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Jul 18

Search continues for missing Wagga swimmer Peter Abd-El-Kaddous

Police divers search the Murrumbidgee River in Wagga on Thursday. Photo: The Daily Advertiser Acting Inspector Phil Malligan from Wagga Police. Photo: The Daily Advertiser
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Peter Abd-El-Kaddous was only meant to be in Wagga over the holidays.

Known as “Pace”, the 42-year-old from Melbourne’s north had travelled to south-western NSW with his wife to spend the festive season with her family.

On Wednesday, as temperatures hovered at 37 degrees, the pair decided to go for a swim to cool off. Within minutes, Mr Abd-El-Kaddous had disappeared below the surface of the Murrumbidgee River, sparking a days-long police search.

Police said locals regularly waded into the river and used the current to float down to a swimming spot known as Wagga Beach.

When Mr Abd-El-Kaddous and his wife – who is from Wagga – tried to do this about 3.30pm on Wednesday, a combination of his three-quarter-length denim pants and the strong current pulled him underwater.

Though his wife tried to keep him afloat, the river swept him away.

He has been missing since Wednesday afternoon, with police, paramedics and rescue volunteers due to resume the search for him at 8am on Friday.

On Thursday, divers from the police Marine Area Command in Sydney took to the river, focusing on an area within several metres of where he was last seen.

Acting Inspector Phil Malligan from Wagga Local Area Command said Mr Abd-El-Kaddous and his wife made it about 20 metres downstream before he disappeared.

“It’s extremely distressing for the family,” Mr Malligan said at the search site on Thursday.

“They’re here in Wagga Wagga visiting from Craigieburn in Victoria, visiting family for the Christmas period. Like a lot of families that return to Wagga, the swimming down here at Wagga Beach has been a popular family activity for many years.

“Unfortunately this family have a tragic end to their Christmas.”

On Friday morning, just before the search resumed, Mr Abd-El-Kaddous’ family released a photo of the 42-year-old.

Mr Malligan said the search was a “recovery operation”, with some pockets of the river up to 8 metres deep.

He said it was a “tragedy” that so many people, across all age groups, had lost their lives in water over the holidays.

“Unfortunately the amount of deaths since Christmas Day is concerning to all members of the community,” he said.

“There’s a number of families across NSW that don’t have loved ones going into New Year’s Eve.”

Ten people have died from drowning in NSW since Christmas.

On Friday morning, police found a body at Maroubra Beach believed to belong to 14-year-old Tui Gallaher, who went missing at the beach on Tuesday.

Twins Robbi and Charli Manago, 23-months-old, died in hospital within days of each other after they were pulled unconscious from their backyard swimming pool in Sydney’s west on December 20.

Grandfather Geoffrey Blackadder, 60, died trying to save his nieces from a rip on Boxing Day, while Nepalese student Sujan Adhikari, 29, died after jumping into a lagoon at the Royal National Park on Christmas Day. \n”,colour:”green”, title:”Search for Peter Abd-El-Kaddous”, maxWidth:200, open:0}] );}if (!window.gmapsLoaders) window.gmapsLoaders = [];window.gmapsLoaders.push(CreateGMapgmap2016113084557);window.gmapsAutoload=true;/*]]>*/]]>

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Jul 18

Strong Bendigo presence at Hanging Rock

IN-FORM: Bendigo trainer is targeting a second straight win with Viva La Dance at Hanging Rock on Sunday. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY/GETTY IMAGESA HANDFUL of Bendigo trainers will target the popular Hanging Rock picnic meeting on New Year’s Day.
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Lee Bennewith, Brad Cole, Danny Curran, Paul Banks, Sean Mott and Adam O’Neill are among those with runners engaged on the six-race program.

Banks will saddle up three-year-old Incision in the opening race on the program, going head-to-head against the Cole-trained debutante Grey Kite, who will be ridden by Bendigo jockey Patrick Holmes.

The pair will again clash in race five with Kinjulator (Cole) and Super Rockstar (Banks).

Bennewith will be looking for back-to-back victories in race two with Viva La Dance, who was an impressive winner at Tatura earlier this month over 1100m.

The six-year-old mare has been a model of consistency with four wins and nine placings in her 21 starts, including a win and four placings in six starts this preparation.

Curran has one-time Bendigo Cup starter Caves entered in the benchmark 58 handicap.

The seven-year-old mare was a last start seventh at Kyneton and is chasing her first win since April and fourth overall.

Caves will be opposed by the Mott-trained Morova Miss.

Six-year-old mare Kenona Road is the solitary O’Neill stable runner on the day and is eyeing her second career win in a benchmark 58 handicap (2400m).

It will be a busy day for Holmes and fellow Bendigo jockey John Keating, with both having a full book of six rides for the afternoon.

BUSY: Patrick Holmes after winning the Schweppes Australia Maiden Plate at Bendigo Racecourse for local trainer Brian Gentle. (Picture: BRETT HOLBURT/GETTY IMAGES

The first race at Hanging Rock starts at 1.50pm, with the last at 5.10pm.

Shuttle buses run to the racecourse from Woodend station for those patrons travelling by train from Bendigo.

Racing will return to Hanging Rock again on Australia Day.

For Sunday’s fields visit 梧桐夜网racing南京夜网/form/2017-01-01/hanging-rock

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Jul 18

Donald Trump’s trade policies become more shocking by the day

Death by China? Peter Navarro, an economist who has urged a hard line on trade with China, will head a newly formed White House National Trade Council. Photo: Andrew HarrerDonald Trump’s assault on trade is escalating. First the foes were China and Mexico. Now it is the world.
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The Trump transition team has mooted an import tariff of 10 per cent across the board, doubling down on earlier talk of a 5 per cent tax. Such thinking is of a different character to Mr Trump’s campaign rhetoric, which mostly hinted at trade sanctions to force concessions.

A catch-all tariff is a change of belief systems. It overthrows the free trade order that has been upheld and policed by Washington since the 1940s.

Congress cannot stop Mr Trump imposing his will by “executive action” under existing US law. The president may impose tariffs of up to 15 per cent for 150 days without having to demonstrate any damage. All he has to do is utter the words “macroeconomic imbalances”, or invoke “national security”, and he can do what he wants.

The thrust is becoming all too clear. Mr Trump’s choice of leader of the White House National Trade Council is a virulent Sinophobe. Without wishing to caricature Peter Navarro, there is a relentless consistency to his work: The Coming China Wars, Death by China: Confronting the Dragon, and Crouching Tiger: What China’s Militarism Means for the World.

This is a strategist who thinks that the US is engaged in Hobbesian fight to the finish with a vicious and authoritarian China. By the magic of cognitive dissonance he also thinks the Chinese system is about to “implode”, and that the US should hurry this process along by tightening the economic noose and by launching an arms race in the Pacific – much as the Reagan Doctrine supposedly broke the back of the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

Markets are still behaving as if they will get the “good Trump” (tax cuts and fiscal stimulus) rather than the “bad Trump” (trade wars), despite mounting evidence to the contrary.

In fairness to the Trump camp, we should not be beguiled too easily by free trade pieties, or fall for the canard that the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 caused the Great Depression. It could not possibly have done the damage so often claimed. The US economy was closed in the 1920s. Any trade effect was far too small to bring about a 26 per cent collapse in American GDP.

Few economists would dispute that the US Federal Reserve caused the slump by allowing the money supply to contract, and that this was then transmitted globally by the deformed structure of the Gold Standard in the inter-war years. Protectionism was the consequence.

What trade barriers did do was to shift the relative advantage from surplus to deficit countries. Britain recovered quickly once it broke free of the Gold Standard and retreated behind Imperial Preference.

Personally, I have always been a free trader but there are self-evidently winners and losers. Nor is the raw “Smithian” measure of efficiency – or GDP growth – the relevant metric in a civilisational contest. What matters is power. Trump’s plan ‘economically absurd’

Yet the Trump trade plan does not ultimately add up. It is economically absurd. His fiscal expansion will boost the budget deficit and this will automatically reduce the US savings rate. Such a policy must lead to an increase in capital inflows, and therefore to a greater trade deficit to offset them through the mechanism of a stronger dollar. There is no way around this accounting truism.

As for Mr Navarro’s diatribes against China, they are a decade out of date. Beijing undoubtedly held down its exchange rate to gain export share early in its catch-up phase, gaming the global system with a hard-nosed ruthlessness.

A trio of academics argue in The China Shock that the country’s rise as a global power not only induced “an epochal shift in patterns of world trade”, but also discredited standard trade theory that labour markets adapt easily. The seminal study by David Dorn, David Autor and Gordon Hanson shows that this shock was shattering for those workers and sectors in developed countries facing the brunt of the storm.

“These results should cause us to rethink the short and medium-run gains from trade,” they said.

But we are now in a different phase. The one-off shock of absorbing China has largely occurred. The country is shifting from export-led growth to a consumer economy driven by internal demand.

Chinese wages have been soaring at double-digit rates. The yuan is no longer over-valued. Beijing has burned through $US1 trillion of foreign reserves trying to stop the exchange rate falling as capital leaks out of the country. The world’s problem

The risk is that Mr Trump will detonate a crisis in China and cause capital flight to spin out of control, with global contagion. We had a foretaste of this a year ago. China’s $US30 trillion debt edifice has become the world’s problem.

As for those like Mr Navarro bracing for a superpower showdown, their grim vision may prove self-fulfilling. Some think that Mr Trump’s Washington is walking straight into the “Thucydides Trap” in its handling of China.

The Greek historian argued that the rise of Athens was a mortal threat to established Sparta, and led ineluctably to the Peloponnesian War [a war clouded by passions like fear, hubris and pride].

A Harvard study of 16 such hegemonic rivalries over the last 500 years found that three-quarters ended in war, with the clinching example said to be the Anglo-German battle for global mastery before 1914.

Whether or not the First World War really fits this schema is an open question. And note that Sparta – not Athens – won the Peloponnesian War. But there is no doubt that we are entering very dangerous waters.

The Daily Telegraph, London

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Jul 18

Star Wars fans pay touching tribute to Carrie Fisher with colourful lightsaber vigils

Fans attend a lightsaber vigil in honour of Carrie Fisher at Disneyland. Photo: Disneyland Periscope TwitterStar Wars fans have paid tribute to late actress Carrie Fisher, their Princess Leia, in the best way they know how: by hoisting their toy lightsabers up to the heavens and letting out a solemn Wookie cry.
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Hundreds of fans attended “lightsaber vigils” across the US, including at Disneyland’s Downtown District on Thursday evening, to honour Fisher, who passed away on Wednesday, aged 60.

“It was a random thing,” the Disneyland event’s organiser Jeff Rowan told CBS News in Los Angeles. “I decided that I think we should be paying homage to her and a lightsaber vigil was very fitting – even though technically she never really even carried a lightsaber.”

Similar events took place in Texas and Denver, where fans attended vigils dressed in Star Wars costumes, including stormtroopers, ewoks, Darth Vader and, of course, Leia’s iconic hair-buns.

“Amazing to see so many people of different ages and backgrounds gathered together for one common interest. May the force be with you, Leia,” a fan who attended a vigil wrote on Instagram. Star Wars fans held a Lightsaber vigil in honor of Carrie Fisher at Downtown Disney. pic.twitter南京夜网/9YRsuRueMz— Greg Hogben (@MyDaughtersArmy) December 29, 20161st love. Lightsaber vigil for #CarrieFisherpic.twitter南京夜网/J7PXRrHl1q— Thommy Snow (@ThommySnow) December 29, 2016Lightsaber vigil in in Anaheim I went to, for @carrieffisher tribute. #starwarspic.twitter南京夜网/H0fmws0vKB— Julie Glatt (@Chloe_Queen) December 29, 2016#StarWars fans at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Austin holding a lightsaber vigil in memory of Carrie Fisher. Via https://t.co/TlZTvh4ZYCpic.twitter南京夜网/031N1qC3Tr— Killer Star Wars (@StarWarsTHX) December 29, 2016It wouldn’t be a lightsaber vigil without an appearance by R2D2! pic.twitter南京夜网/mVC1ISYTeQ— Alex Stockwell (@alexrstockwell) December 29, 2016Hope. Light saber tribute at @drafthouse#RogueOne#ATXpic.twitter南京夜网/hJLuGSDvoi— Doug Kern (@doug_kern) December 29, 2016

The vigils were a colourful contrast to a more solemn gathering held in Los Angeles, where fans had created a makeshift star on Hollywood Blvd’s Walk Of Fame to honour Fisher, surrounded by flowers and candles.

The fan-crafted star was placed just a block from the site of an official star belonging to Fisher’s mum Debbie Reynolds, who passed away on Thursday following a stroke.

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Jul 18

What’s on your mind? Letters

Opinions: Here’s what has some Highlanders talking in the latest collection of letters to the editor.The challenge of ‘taming racisim’Recently a family member needed an ambulance.
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Two paramedics came promptly and worked reassuringly.

One had a foreign accent and I asked where the accent was from.

His people came from a part of Germany near where my family also were from.

He went about his business and then turned and said, “The other day a woman said to me ‘If you weren’t born here in Australia you’re not touching me’. “

I was shocked as were several people to whom I have told the story.

Now a caution and this may undermine the shock and turn it into compassion.

The patient may have been a mental health patient though no such detail was mentioned.

If not my shock remains and moves beyond that self-defeating person.

If that is what we have become in this country, yes even from a sample of one I am horrified.

But should I be?

I should see it as a vein of fear of others, of difference pulsing through the Australian psyche since white settlement.

Often the fear has been congealed and focused on a particular race.

During the gold rushes it was the Chinese.

During and after the war it was Reffos-refugees from war torn countries.

During the Vietnam war it was boat people.

Deep in our psyche there is a fear of boat arrivals.

Now it is Muslims and the terrorists want us to hate them so that terrorists can say we are full of racial/religious hate.

We know our forerunners who grabbed the land arrived by boat and some mob could do it again.

Some of us are old enough to remember beaches with concrete bastions and barbed wire guarding our shores.

If you come by plane you can get in.

Unscrupulous politicians know of this fear of others, of difference and can easily exploit or fuel up that fear.

In this post truth, post fact, post logic era a lot of rampant nonsense goes unchallenged.

If the person who spoke to the ambo above arrived at any hospital in Australia and refused ministrations of non-Australian born staff they may have a long wait.

Somehow we seem to be draining medical staff from countries, which can scarcely afford to let them go.

But medical staff may have a big job curing our xenophobia and taming our racism while politicians use it to win elections as despots have done throughout history.

Michael D. BreenRobertsonGreat public relations from rail staffPicture this: returning on the Melbourne/Sydney XPT without airconditioning on the hottestday, to find my luggagge has remained on the train.

The Moss Vale station staff spring into action, phone the train, organise my luggage return from Campbelltown and by 9.30 the same night, my luggage is handed to me at Mittagong Station.

Good job Kevin and your two co-workers at Mossy, and all done with smiles and good humour.

Great public relations I say.

Hazel MellorMittagongDo you have something on your mind that you want to share?

Get your message across in the Southern Highland News Letters to the Editor.

Publishing consideration is given to all letters with preference to those that are 250 words or less.

Remember to include your name and contact details. Contact details will not be published.

Letters may be edited for space, clarity or legal reasons and willbe published online.

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Jul 18

Melbourne weather: Train commuters hit with cancellations as ‘one-in-100-year’ storm clean-up continues

Several cars were swamped due to the flooding. Photo: Penny Stephens Brighton beach goers cross Brighton Rd as the wild weather hit Melbourne. Photo: Penny Stephens
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Severe damage and flooding at Merri Creek after Thursday’s wild storm. Photo: Eddie Jim

A cyclist attempts to cross a fallen tree at the Creek Parade Bridge at Nothcote on Friday morning. Photo: Eddie Jim

Elwood resident cleans up on Friday morning. Photo: Neelima Choahan

Mitford st in Elwood after Thursday’s flash flooding. Photo: Wayne Taylor

The clean-up across Melbourne has continued on Friday morning after wild storms caused severe damage to many homes and brought down hundreds of trees across the city.

Some pockets of the city received “one-in-100-year” rainfalls in Thursday’s torrential downpour, according to the weather bureau.

And the downpour was still causing major headaches for train travellers with some services cancelled and others suspended.

The end to the hot and humid conditions of the past week is also in sight. Once some early morning fog clears, it should be a dry day with only a slight chance of rain, the Bureau of Meteorology says.

Hundreds of homes across Melbourne were damaged by severe thunderstorms, many suffering partial ceiling collapses after guttering and downpipes couldn’t cope with the intense rain. Property owners used brooms, mops and towels to combat the water, which damaged carpet and other floor coverings.

A spokeswoman for the State Control Centre said emergency services have received more than 1800 calls for assistance over the past 24 hours, with Northcote, Port Melbourne, Reservoir and Glen Eira among the worst-hit areas.

The majority of the calls were about flooded homes and water damage, she said.

“There could be some early morning showers this morning, but nothing – absolutely nothing – like yesterday,” she said.

Trains are still feeling the effects of yesterday’s downpour, with part of the Belgrave line suspended and services across the network cancelled.

It is not just the train lines that were impacted – water damage to the ceiling at South Yarra Station forced the closure of half of the platforms until about 10am.

Platforms four to six had to be closed, and trains on the Frankston and Pakenham/Cranbourne lines had to skip the station until the ceiling was repaired.

Seven train lines were suspended on Thursday and while the lines are open again this morning, last night’s disruption has left trains out of position.

A Metro Trains spokesman said the cancellations would be in the early morning, and would clear once the network got back to normal speed.

But a section of the Belgrave line between Upper Ferntree Gully and Belgrave remains closed while crews inspect tracks for flood damage, and replacement buses have been organised for the affected area.

It means anyone travelling into the city from Belgrave on Friday is set for a lengthy commute, having to take two sets of replacement buses as trains are not running further along the line between Ringwood and Box Hill because of level crossing works.

The Metro spokesman apologised for the delay and urged Belgrave passengers to allocate extra travel time.

But Melbourne’s roads have mostly recovered from the downpour, and traffic is running smoothly along major roads this morning.

A VicRoads spokeswoman said there had not been any major delays, but urged motorists to call 13 11 70 if they spotted any debris on roads.

Melburnians again endured a hot and humid night, but it was not as uncomfortable as Wednesday night, which was the warmest night of the year.

The overnight temperature did not drop below 20 degrees, but high humidity levels trapped the heat and made it seem up to three degrees warmer.

Bureau of meteorology senior forecaster Beren Bradshaw said the fog and humidity should dissipate within the next few hours as the temperature rises on Friday.

And after a week of nights with temperatures in their 20s, tonight is expected to be a cool one in the mid-teens.

“It will be a welcome relief,” Ms Bradshaw said.

She said torrential rain during Thursday’s thunderstorms fell so rapidly that it would have been in excess of a one in-a-100 year event in some places.

“In a lot of those locations we are looking at at least a one-in-10 year event. But in some locations we have recorded rainfall in excess of a one-in-100-year event,” 

In metropolitan Melbourne, the rain fell most rapidly in places like Viewbank in Melbourne’s north east, and Scoresby, in the east, which received more than one month’s rainfall in mere hours.

A severe weather warning remains in place for heavy rain in the state’s east.

The area for which the flash flooding warning has been issued. Photo: Craig Butt

As of 7pm on Thursday, more than 35 SES crews were working across suburban Melbourne.

Emergency services rescued motorists stranded in cars in floodwater, and numerous “good samaritan” rescues of trapped motorists also occurred in the suburbs.

In Elwood, residents were forced to wade along footpaths in water that was knee-deep, and water inundated verandahs and at least one home in the suburb.

One Elwood resident told Channel Nine that “at the worst of it, we had four inches of water through the entire house”.

He also said: “It was like a river coming up the side of the house, filling the backyard, coming up under the door, under all the doors … under the floor, through the floor, under the skirting boards, everything, everything. It just came in every angle. You just couldn’t get towels down quick enough.”

Geoffrey Love, secretary of the Elwood Floods Action Group, said the flooding that hit Elwood had caused “significant” damage in the suburb.

Mr Love said Wave Street was flooded after the Elwood Canal broke its banks, while Mitford Street was flooded by water from the sudden downpour, which damaged properties.

Mr Love urged the four councils that were home to the Elster Creek catchment, Melbourne Water and the state government to work cooperatively to reduce the risk of flooding in Elwood. The Elster Creek flows into the Elwood Canal.

He called for consistent council policies that would help reduce the amount of stormwater run-off, the use of permeable surfaces instead of hard surfaces and the construction of levees to catch and contain floodwater.

Mr Love said Elsternwick Park should be modified so that it could retain water when flooding occurred. He called for the park to be “contoured and designed” to help manage floodwater, the construction of a levee bank around Oval Two, and for a small wetland in the park to be “significantly expanded”.

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Jul 18

Fury over Fullerton Cove kennel death

DISTRAUGHT: Nathan Wilson with his curly haired retriever, Charlotte, at their Fern Bay home. Mr Wilson and his partner Dean Compton are devastated at the death of their greyhound Baron. Picture: Sam Norris AN autopsy will determine if afamily’s adoption-greyhound died of heat stroke in a Fullerton Cove boarding kennel this week.
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The issue exploded on social media on Thursday with the owners of Jane’s Pet Resort revealing they had even been subjected to death threats.

The resort’s management has defended its record, saying it had had“no deaths in 20 years” but theRSPCA hasn’t ruled out heat strokeas the cause of death.

The dog’s owners, who live at Fern Bay, are shattered.

Nathan Wilson and his partner Dean Compton placed the greyhound, Baron, and their curly coated retriever, Charlotte, in Jane’s Pet Resort just before Christmas.

The family’s greyhound Baron.

Their children begged them to pick up the dogs on Wednesday, a day short of the agreed seven-day stay.

Resort management broke the news of Baron’s death to Mr Compton and theeldest boy when they arrived.

“They said ‘yourdog is dead’ and my son broke down,” Mr Compton said.

“The staff said that they had checked on our dogs 15 minutes before and that they were fine.”

Devastated, they returned to their Seaside Estate home.

“Charlotte’s collapsed on the floor in front of the children,” Mr Wilson said.

“From what the vet described it was heat stroke.

“We covered her in wet towels to try and cool her down.”

Mr Wilson and Mr Compton arranged for Baron to be transported to Raymond Terrace Veterinary Clinic after kennel management had offered to handle the burial.

“The vet told us Baron had been dead for hours and that he’d died of dehydration and heat stroke,” Mr Wilson said.

The RSPCA has since collected Baron’s body to conduct an autopsy.

“There is a post mortem underway,” a spokeswoman for RSPCA NSW confirmed on Thursday.

“Our investigator did attend the [kennel] property [Thursday] and our inquiries are ongoing.”

Stephen Williams, whoownsthe kennel with wife Jane, said he and the staff had cooperated fully with the RSPCA.

“The RSPCA has been through the place and they said they were satisfied but made some recommendations; more shade,” Mr Williamssaid

“We’ve got trees and three shade sails but it wouldn’t hurt to put a few more in the yard.”

Mr Williams said Baron and Charlotte were washed at lunch time and put in the yard to dry. A short time later he said the dogs were returned to the kennel.

“It’s allegedly heatstroke, if it’s happened, it was quick,” he said.

“I did say, ‘your dog’s dead’ …I was in shock.”

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Jul 18

January 1 price rises and benefit cuts: what you need to know

Australians will awake on Sunday to a host of increased fees, changed regulations and reduced benefits. Photo: Dominic LorrimerThey say life can change in an instant.
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Never is that more true than when the clock strikes midnight on December 31.

Along with hangovers and dark circles under their eyes, Australians will awake on Sunday to a host of increased fees, charges, changed regulations and reduced benefits.

Get set to pay more and receive less.

Here’s everything you need to know: Pensioners

A shake-up of the test that determines whether people are eligible to receive the age pension, the disability support pension and the carers pension will mean reduced payments for more than 230,000 pensioners and payments ceasing altogether for about 90,000 more. Pensioners affected by the change should have already received a letter from Centrelink.

Some pensioners – about 170,000 – will actually receive a pension boost, because the government is lifting the total value of assets – cash, shares, investment properties – pensioners can own before their pension rate is reduced from the full rate. The family home remains excluded, as always.

But many more will lose out under the changes thanks to an increase in the rate at which pension payments are reduced once assets exceed the threshold value. Currently, for every $1000 of assets a pensioner owns above the asset threshold, their fortnightly pension payment is reduced by $1.50. This will increase to $3 on January 1 – returning it to where it was before the Howard government made it more generous in 2006. Dental care

Three million children who live in families that receive Family Tax Benefit Part A will, from January 1, have their entitlement to free dental services capped at $700 over two years, down from $1000 previously. Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley says only 30 per cent of children who are entitled to the payment actually use it, and the average claimed per patient is just $302. However, 8 per cent of children eligible for the subsidies are expected to be affected by the change – leaving about a quarter of a million kids worse off.

The new year also brings reduced funding for adult dental services, after the federal government announced just before Christmas that it would give the states just $107 million in funding each year for the next three years, down from $155 million this funding year. The Gillard government had originally pledged $391 million for the coming funding year.

The new year brings reduced funding for adult dental services. Photo: Quentin Jones

Minister Ley was unable to get the states to agree to her $1.7 billion, four-year, combined Child and Adult Public Dental Scheme and announced the reduced funding agreement just before Christmas instead. The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association says public dental services will be “severely compromised” as a result of the funding cuts and estimates 338,000 Australians will lose access to public dental services as a result. Prescription drugs

The new year will herald higher co-payments for prescription drugs. The co-payment per script will rise to $6.30 for concession cardholders (up from $6.20) and to $38.80 for general patients (up from $38.30). A 2014 Coalition plan to increase the general co-payment by another $5 remains on ice however, one of several “zombie” measures in the federal budget that have yet to pass through Parliament.

But it is older Australians and frequent prescription users who will suffer the most in the new year as their free drugs safety net resets.

“There’s two ways people will pay more for drugs from January 1,” a spokesman for the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Greg Turnbull, said.

“First, there will be an increase in the co-payments, which increase each year with inflation. And second, when the clock strikes midnight on December 31, people who have been enjoying free prescriptions because they reached the safety net at some point during this year will start paying co-contributions again until they hit the safety net in 2017.” Welfare crackdown

As part of the Coalition’s $6 billion omnibus savings bill, passed in September, people who have received welfare overpayments will start paying interest of 8 per cent on their debts from January 1, unless they are complying with a repayment plan.

People who owe money to Centrelink will also be able to be ordered not to leave the country until they pay, similar to arrangements in place to stop parents who skip child support payments from skipping the country.

January 1 also ushers in a host of new changes to welfare eligibility criteria, including that: Fringe benefits received from employers will now be included in the income test for family assistance and youth payments (unless your employer is a not-for-profit);Child support payments will now be included in the income test for youth allowance;Age pensioners who move into aged care and rent out their former home will now have this rental income included when determining their age pension payments;New recipients of the carers allowance will lose an ability to have their payments backdated.New migrants who arrive under the family reunions channel will now need to serve a two-year waiting period before they qualify for income support payments.Backpackers’ tax

The Turnbull government’s controversial backpackers’ tax will finally come into effect from January 1. People aged 18 to 30 who come to Australia as temporary working holidaymakers will start paying income tax of 15 cents from the first dollar they earn.

Previously, backpackers were taxed the same as Australian citizens, meaning they could earn up to $18,000 without paying tax. The Turnbull government’s May budget sought to align them to the tax treatment of non-residents, which is 32.5 cents from the first dollar they earn, but the government watered down the measure after a backlash from tourism and regional businesses. Vocational education

Eradicating dodgy vocational educational providers is the aim of a revamped student loans scheme which comes into effect from January 1. The new VET Student Loans program will replace the old VET FEE-HELP scheme, under which loans increased from $26 million in 2009 to $2.9 billion last year as unscrupulous providers sought to sign up vulnerable students to courses of questionable value.

Students enrolling in vocational education institutions this year will need to double check with the Department of Education and Training that their institution remains an eligible provider, or they will be ineligible for a student loan this year. There will also be a new cap on loan amounts and stronger criteria for which courses are eligible.

The cost of a new passport will increase from January 1. Passports

Bad luck for those who have booked holidays but not yet arranged their passports. From January 1, the cost of each new passport will increase by $20 for adults and $10 for children and seniors. The fee for priority processing of passport applications will increase by an even heftier $54. Nannies pilot

Due to an overwhelming lack of uptake, the government’s pilot program to pay subsidies to families who employ private nannies will cease to accept new families from January 1. The government booked a saving of $170 million in its December mid-year budget update by winding back the number of places set aside and closing the scheme to new families from January 1. Asthma drugs

Good news for an estimated 370 severe asthma sufferers who will benefit from the listing of a new medicine, Nucala, on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme from January 1. Previously, patients with this severe form of asthma would have to pay $21,000 each year to access the new treatment, which involves monthly injections. The listing will cost $25 million over four years. Youth allowance

Every little bit helps. About 1 million recipients of Austudy, Youth Allowance, Carer Allowance and young recipients of the disability support pension will wake up to a few extra dollars a week thanks to the regular annual indexation of their payments.

Youth Allowance recipients will get between $2.40 and $5.70 extra a fortnight. Austudy recipients will get between $4.30 and $5.70 a fortnight. Payments increase with inflation, rather than the more generous measure of average wages growth which pensioners enjoy.

Opal fares will remain frozen until July. Photo: Edwina PicklesTransport

Opal fares remain frozen until July, but the cost of some other trips will rise.

Tolls will increase between 1¢ and 8¢ for cars using the Hills M2 Motorway, M5 South-West Motorway, Westlink M7, Eastern Distributor, Cross City Tunnel and Lane Cove Tunnel.

An increase of between 4¢ and $1.89 will also apply to trucks using these roads, as part of the regular quarterly adjustment to tolls.

Trips on the privately contracted Manly Fast Ferry service will rise by around 10¢ per trip as part of an agreement for regular annual inflation increases.

The vehicle tax for light vehicles will rise by between $3 and $10, depending on weight and whether it is for private or business use. Other registration fees and charges remain the same. Solar bonus scheme

The NSW Solar Bonus Scheme will end at midnight on December 31, meaning drastically reduced payments for solar panel owners.

The scheme was only supposed to attract 42,000 households, but 147,000 households ended up signing up for the scheme which earned them 60¢ or 20¢ for every kilowatt hour of power they supplied to the grid.

The new year will see these “feed in tariffs” earned by solar panel owners reduced to just 6¢ for AGL and EnergyAustralia customers, 10¢ for Origin customers and 12¢ from smaller players like Enova Energy. Foreign property investors

The Baird government’s new Foreign Investor Land Tax Surcharge will come into force from January 1.

Foreign investors who own residential real estate in NSW will be slapped with a new and ongoing additional surcharge of 0.75 per cent of the unimproved value of their land, in addition to the usual land tax.

There will be no tax-free threshold, meaning if a property has an unimproved land value of $1 million, the foreign owner will, from January 1, pay a foreign investor surcharge of $7500 per year. Land tax bills

There is some relief in sight for investment property owners, however, as land tax thresholds are increased from January 1. The threshold at which property investors must start paying land tax will increase from an unimproved land value of $482,000 to a value of $549,000. The premium threshold will increase from $2,947,000 to $3,357,000.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.